With Mattew Perry’s sudden passing, what will he be remembered for?
On Saturday, October 25, 2023, America lost a friend. Matthew Perry was unfortunately found in his Los Angeles home unconscious. He was 54 and is survived by his mother Suzanne Perry and father John Bennett Perry. Although Perry was engaged in 2020, he never married nor had any children. Without leaving a family legacy behind, what will his legacy be?
Many will remember him as an actor. His most well-known films include “17 Again” with Zac Efron, “Fallout: New Vegas” and “Fools Rush In.” A few of the well-known shows he appeared in are “Go On” and “Beverly Hills 90210.” His most famous project and one that he is mainly associated with is playing Chandler Bing on the Warner Bros Sitcom Friends which ran for 10 seasons spanning 10 years.
Chandler Bing is a character who, thanks to his parent’s divorce announcement at the Thanksgiving dinner table, is a sarcastic jokester with his five other friends going through relationships and life events as adults. The majority of the memorials and tributes seen come from episodes or photo shots taken during his time on “Friends.” Strong bonds and family relationships were created while the show was airing and lasted more than 25 years. In “Friends: The Reunion,” Lisa Kudrow, who plays Phoebe Buffay, said “We have such a bond from having done this show and forged this very tight relationship, anytime you text or call someone, they’re gonna pick up. They’ll be there.”
Courtney Cox, who played Perry’s on-screen love interest Monica Geller, said “We became best friends who, just, the chemistry, the whole thing. It was life changing, and it forever will be. Not just for us but for people who watch it, and that’s just such a great feeling to carry forever.”
While Perry played a friend, he truly was one off screen. John Stamos, famously known as Uncle Jesse from “Full House,” is remembering his friend who he credits as being the person who kept him in show business.
Stamos took to Instagram to share a clip from “Friends” when he guest starred saying:
“Standing backstage, ready to make my entrance, Matt whispers, ‘The audience is going [to] go crazy when they see you! Get ready for some loud screams.’ I walk through the door… silence. I was so embarrassed. We finish the scene and as I start to slither back to my dressing room and quit showbiz, Matt walks over to the studio audience: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for John Stamos! You guys probably didn’t recognize him at first because he’s so much better looking in person!’ I never forgot that and the world will never forget you.”
While fans of the show may associate his life with Friends, this isn’t what he wants to be remembered for.
Perry wrote a book titled “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir.” A year before his death while he was promoting his memoir, during an interview on the Q with Tom Power’s podcast, he said “I would like to be remembered as somebody who lived well, loved well, was a seeker. And his paramount thing is that he wants to help people. That’s what I want.”
The book is about his battle with drug and alcohol abuse while working in television and in the public eye. He also told Good Morning America, that “he hopes speaking out changes people’s perceptions of those experiencing addiction.” This is the legacy he wants to be remembered and survived by.
Before the book came out, Perry was already in the works of helping others turn away from addiction and to sobriety. Perry turned his former Malibu beach house into the “Perry House” which served as a sober living facility for men. Unfortunately, the facility shut down due to expenses and according to an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, “the business didn’t really work.” There were hopes and plans to reopen a new location in Santa Monica but didn’t happen.
However and whatever you associate Matthew Perry with, remember the legacy we have already created for him and the one he wants to leave behind. Consider the experiences he went through, how he wants his life to leave a mark on the world and remember him for that.